There wasn’t a second wasted. The lights were dimmed and the music stopped. The packed and perspiring crowd began to cheer as the headliners approached the turntables at center stage. Camera lights flashed and cell phones were recording, A haze of cigarette smoke and the smell of cannabis began to fill the room, as if it was some form of grand contemporary ritual welcoming these prophets of a new genre to the city of Orlando. They accepted the warm welcome of the loving crowd and began their set. The headliners proclaimed their universal appeal, introducing themselves with Ace Hood’s well known anthem, “New Bugatti.” The audience, a vast mixture of characters and personalities sang along, together, mimicking the subtle nature of Future’s initial, mellow verse. With a hushed tension, we all sand and waited; waited for the noise we all knew was approaching. The tension was released as audio recording demanded us to “TURN UP”, making us simultaneously oblige. For the next 75 minutes on that misty Sunday morning, the trap trailblazers known as Flosstradamus displayed their mastered craft to us, resulting in a more than satisfied crowd enraptured in every minute of the performance, with not a second wasted.
Flosstradamus truly showed mastery of moving a crowd that warm evening in Florida, playing their own and other well known trap producers’ high energy, electronic heavy bangers throughout the night such as “Underground Anthem”, DJ Snake’s “Bird Machine” and by far the crowd favorite, Baauer’s remix of Floss’s song “Roll Up.” Just as skillfully as the Chi-town duo transitioned in and out of songs like these, they mixed in well known hip hop tunes like “I’m Different”, “Backseat Freestyle” and “New Slaves”, seamlessly and in a way that sounded completely organic to the set; a method many dance DJ’s can’t quite master. The show kept a steady level of high energy the entire time Flosstradamus graced the stage. There was a constant unified rhythm created by the 808 cadences and 140 beats per minute that the crowd soaked in for the entire 60 minute performance. As the clock struck 2:30 a.m. the main lights of the venue came on and people began to come down from their trap induced highs. Only a few chanted “One More Song! One More Song!” as J2K and Autobot (Flosstradamus members) slowly backed off the decks. Then suddenly, in true hoodie boyz “do what we want” fashion, J2K got on the mic and told the audience they were going keep playing until the club owners forced them to stop. This lead to an extra fifteen minutes of excellent mixing that revamped the crowd’s energy and what I believe really painted a picture of the unique contribution trap has made to the EDM scene and music in general.
Flosstradamus’s dynamic set showed how universally appealing trap potential to be. Many nay sayers of the new subgenre believe that its path and fate is going in a similar direction to dubstep’s. That trap, like dubstep, will simply be something fresh and different for a short time, and that it will eventually burn out along with the rest of EDM. In my humble opinion, I think what trap does as a subgenre is create an atmosphere recognizable to just about anyone who listens to popular music of the present. The hip hop related bass line fosters a vibe reminiscent of any kind of popular rap song you would hear in a club today minus the lyrics. The electronic influences in melodies appeal to veteran dance music enthusiasts and make new fans feel as though even they are in the know, being able to fully enjoy and possibly more easily understand this Electronic Dance Music that has seemed to have taken the world by storm. It is that characteristic of familiarity yet novelty that separates trap from dubstep and many other forms of dance music (no disrespect to any of the other historically rich subgenres of course). It’s something everyone already knows how to groove and vibe to, not being plagued by questions like “How do you dance to this?” or eccentric and strange YouTube videos of people wearing masks doing the Robot Adventure Club tracks, the way dubstep was in its sensitive infancy.
The main thing I took away from Flosstradamus’s set that night was the unique way they made their audience enjoy what they played for them. That despite the varying personalities and reasons everyone was there, at the end of it all, the audience was simply enjoying the music. Shufflers shuffled on the outskirts of the crowd. Frat boys raged and mosh pitted with odd looking fellows who looked like bands like Slip Knot and Korn were their childhood heroes. Kandi girls and scantily clad “ratchet chicks” twerked and expressed themselves beside one another. To my surprise, even the important button down wearing people in VIP stopped paying so much attention to their bottles and girlfriends for at least a little while just to enjoy whatever track being played by the godfathers of this new genre of EDM. This image is what the venue looked like at any particular hyped up moment during the entirety of Flosstradamus’s set.
And what do I think about what trap offers that other subgenres don’t? It brings together memorable and fun experiences from many different types of shows to make one rich, energy filled experience. It is these characteristics of contrast working together to make something interesting that I think makes trap just a little bit different; and what is key to trap masters, Flosstradamus’s permanent residency in the exclusive club of dance music legends.